The time has arrived. Here we are, the week of Super Bowl 50 in sunny San Francisco, California. All of the pregame festivities and star-studded halftime show aside, it all boils down to one thing–the AFC champion Denver Broncos going up against the NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
Super Bowl 50 – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers, 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS
The Denver Broncos ride their red-hot defense, which was able to hit or sack New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady 17 times and intercept him twice, into San Francisco. Defensive playmakers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware will be looking to wreak havoc on Carolina’s backfield.
Keys to a Denver Broncos victory:
- Limit Cam Newton
- To have any hope in hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, the Broncos vaunted defense is going to have to contain the playmaking quarterback and limit his opportunities to escape the pocket. Although Newton has shown he can make the big throws, limiting his scrambling opportunities, and making the Panthers win through the air is Denver’s best opportunity.
- Protect Peyton
- It’s no secret, quarterback Peyton Manning has seen his fair share of struggles in the 2015-16 season. Foot injuries and Father Time have not helped either. Keeping Manning upright is a task that the Bronco’s offensive line must undertake if they want any chance in this game. If Manning gets rattled and struggles with his throws, cornerback Josh Norman and the Carolina defense will be all over the field.
Keys to a Carolina Panthers victory:
- Start Fast
- If Carolina wants to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, the team must do what they’ve done in both the NFC divisional and conference championship rounds–and that is to start fast. Throughout the season, the Panthers have seen their due share of second half struggles, like defeating the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 in the NFC divisional round after closing out the first half with a 31-0 lead. The Panthers must use the speed of their receivers and the strength of their defense to start fast and make this game a shootout.
- Rattle Manning
- Just like Denver must protect Manning in order to win, the Panthers must succeed in pressuring Manning into his throws on Super Bowl Sunday. When Manning is pressured, history shows the passes begin to wobble, and the throws are less than accurate. Using the pass rush led by linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Keuchly, the Panthers will need to make Peyton feel the heat, if they want to walk away world champions.
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